2017 Grant Program Information

Round 5

Overview

On September 21, 2017, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement announced a new round of Connections for Classrooms Grant Program grant funding, which has provided more than $80 million in grants to LEAs across the state for district and school network upgrades and digital devices over the last three years. Utilizing roughly $10 million in unspent grant funds from prior awardees, Round 5 will enable eligible districts and schools to upgrade their digital networks or, if additional network upgrades are not needed in the next two years, purchase additional digital devices. Relevant program information has been included below.

Grant Awards

On January 16, 2018, GOSA awarded more than $7 million to 60 rural, high-need districts, state charter schools, and local charter schools from Round 5 of the Connections for Classrooms Grant Program. Read the award announcement and list of awardees. 

Eligible Districts/Schools

Round 5 will have two parallel application processes—one for rural, high-need districts and the other for state special schools and charter schools—as defined below.

Eligible Districts

A district is eligible to apply for Round 5 funding if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Is located in a county that is in Tiers 1, 2, or 3 using the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ annual job tax credit tiers. These counties represent the counties with the highest unemployment rate, lowest per capita income, and highest percentage of residents whose incomes are below the poverty level in the state. In addition to being the counties with high student need, the economic conditions make it less likely that these districts are able to bridge the device gap with BYOD policies and local purchases. For more information on the tiers, click here.
  2. Serves less than 25 students per square mile. These LEAs must spend proportionally more funds per pupil since they serve a more dispersed population and do not have the economies of scale of larger districts. In addition, students are more likely to spend more time on buses and have more limited opportunities for dual enrollment, making digital learning more important.

The map below graphically shows the eligible districts in blue.

Eligible Schools

Schools in the following categories are eligible to apply:

  • Locally authorized start-up charter schools that have not been included in their LEA’s E-Rate application,
  • State Charter Commission authorized charter schools,
  • State special schools

Click on the map to open a larger version.

Funding Priorities

Priority 1: Local match funding for FY2018 E-Rate Category 2 school network infrastructure costs

Priority 2: School or district network infrastructure up to $50 per student eligible but for which our district/school no longer has remaining Category 2 eligibility. Please note that this priority area requires that your district/school has previously applied for E-Rate Category 2 in 2015, 2016, or 2017 and meets one of the following criteria:

  • Total remaining E-Rate Category 2 eligible funds for this funding cycle (inclusive of federal E-Rate funds and local match) for the district are less than the maximum of Priority 2 eligibility ($50/student) for the district as a whole, or
  • Total remaining E-Rate Category 2 eligible funds for this funding cycle (inclusive of federal E-Rate funds and local match) for the schools in which Priority 2 network investment is planned less than maximum of Priority 2 eligibility ($50/student) for the district as a whole.

Priority 3: Digital devices up to $50 per student

  • To be eligible, districts must have utilized all Category 2 E-Rate eligibility or can commit in writing that no E-Rate eligible network upgrades will be done over the next two years. See Grant Guidelines document for list of eligible equipment.

For Priorities 2 and 3, the October 2017 FTE K-12 enrollment should be used to determine total eligibility. These funds are not intended to purchase a $50 device or piece of equipment per student. Rather, as a whole, the total eligible funding amount derived from the $50/student should be used for network equipment or end-user digital devices that comply with grant requirement and will best serve the students.

Application Details

Due to limited funding, this round will include a competitive application submission and review process to determine awards. Strong applicants will clearly describe how this grant will enable them to upgrade and improve their digital networks to change instruction to implement digital learning, specifically facilitating learning with technology that gives students some control over time, place, path, and/or pace. In addition, they will demonstrate their need for network equipment or devices, outline their equipment selection/deployment/maintenance plans, and explain how this investment ties into their current network.

Each application will be scored by at least two independent reviewers. Depending on the number and quality of applications received, applicants may receive full, partial, or no funding.

Timeline

LEAs that plan to participate in Round 5 should note the following key dates:

  • September 21, 2017: Round 5 grant application opens
  • October 3, 2017 2:00-3:00 PM: Webinar on Round 5 Grant Application and Program Overview 
  • October 18, 2017 3:00-4:00 PM: Webinar for Locally Authorized Charter Schools on How to Apply for E-Rate. Click here to access the webinar.
  • October 24, 2017: GaDOE K-12 Network Summit at Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center. Overview of Grant Program and E-Rate Program Updates for FY2018 filing
  • November 15, 2017: The application window closes as of 5:00 PM ET.
  • January 2018: Award announcements will be made.
  • February 28, 2018: The last date to submit the LEA’s Notice of Intent to GOSA for Connections for Classrooms – Round 5 funding. Notices of Intent will not be accepted after this date, and funds will be reallocated for other purposes. 
  • March 31, 2020: The last day to submit a request for reimbursement of expenses related to Round 5 awards.

These dates may be revised by GOSA as deemed necessary.  If these dates are revised, GOSA will post a notice on the link identified above.

Grant Program Important Documents
Grant Program Procedures Document

Detailed information on the grant program application, scoring, administration, and reimbursement. 

Released September 21, 2017; Updated October 20, 2017 to clarify Priority 2 Eligibility

Grant Application Planning Document

Direct Link to Online Application Form

This document walks applicants through the online application step by step and allows them to fill it out in a Word document before submitting it online.

Released September 21, 2017; Updated October 20, 2017 to clarify Priority 2 Eligibility

Grant Application School Budget Template by Priority Area

Priority 1 (E-Rate)

Priority 2 (Network Equipment or Services)

Priority 3 (Digital Devices)

This spreadsheet should be filled out and attached to the online application to outline the projected total budget and number of devices in each school.

Released September 21, 2017

Grant Application Scoring Rubric

The rubric that independent reviewers will use to score applications.

Released September 21, 2017

Grant Program FAQs

Frequently asked questions and answers for the Digital Learning Device Rural Grant Program.

Released September 21, 2017

List of Eligible Districts

List of Eligible Schools

List of districts and schools that meet the eligibility criteria outlined above.

Released September 21, 2017